Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Humor | April 12th, 2017

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through Friday and Saturday and it goes for a lifetime. It’s not just for a month. It’s an ongoing tour.”

The routine may be tedious for some but for Poundstone it’s well worth the hustle and bustle. “It’s healing, both for me and for the audience. I think you know nature gave us this really cool thing of laughter. I don’t know if any other species has it--I think maybe raccoons do, but I am not certain.”

She’s been on the scene since 1979, cutting her comic teeth on the open mic stage in Boston at the age of 19. She accredits her success to being at the right place at the right time and considers the open mic experience as “college for comics.”

“I happened to be living in Boston busing tables for a living--it’s not like I turned my back on a law degree,” she went on to say. “It was really serendipitous in terms of time and place. I’ve certainly had a lifelong drive to do so--I just had no idea where to begin if it hadn’t been for the resurgence of standup.”

As a seasoned pro she might prepare for a show by practicing a little tap dance or by quickly reviewing her notes so she won’t skip a beat in front of an audience eagerly awaiting her appearance. She’ll even apply a little bit of lipstick.

“Oh I always wear bright red--I don’t really see any other lipsticks having a point--like a lighter shade.” She went on to say, “For a while there--there was a trend of an oddly brick shade that did nothing for me. I like BRIGHT red lips. No one can see anything else even in the back of the theatre, they see bright red lips.”

High Plains Reader: When you were in school were you the class clown and what made you want to make people laugh?

Paula Poundstone: I think right out of the gate I enjoyed the sound of laughter--it’s contagious in a good way. I loved being the person to make somebody laugh. The first sentence of the last paragraph of the summary letter written by my kindergarten teacher in May of 1965--which they did in lieu of a report card. It said, “I’ve enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities.” I think I really valued having an adult appreciate something I did.

HPR: What do you think the key to success is as a stand up comedian?

PP: I think you kind of just have to follow your own heart. What I try to do night after night, year after year is be the most myself that I can possibly be onstage. It’s not that I’m not influenced by other people--because I am. Even who I am as a human being let alone who I am on stage. The goal is to get down to the most me I can be. There’s no topic on which I can’t do jokes because it’s all coming from this somewhat unique character that is me.

HPR: So you have a book coming out on May 9. Can you tell us a bit about that?

PP: It took seven years to write. The eighth year was for editing and the cover and all that kind of crap. Part of the reason it took so long was my book is called, “The totally unscientific study and the search for human happiness.” Each chapter is written as an experiment and each experiment was in doing something I, or other people, thought would make me happy. Some of the experiments only took a day or so, but many of them took months. In addition to that fact, I am also not a writer for a living. I don’t have designated writing time in my day--so every week I was straining to get everything done that I needed to get done in my home and for my work with my kids so I could square away a bit of time to write.

HPR: What was the most important thing that you learned while writing your book?

PP: I think that happiness in general requires some effort. Some of it is a straight biochemical thing. You feel better when you exercise and eat right and drink a lot of water. I know these things to be true, but for some odd reason it’s very hard to do these things. I don’t know why…

I think also feeling a connection to people. That connection does not come from electronics. It does not come from social networking--social networking is an advertising platform. It’s really made us more isolated and one thing I’ve become quite conscious of doing is--I talk to strangers. In a way, I talk to strangers for a living, but I talk to individuals if I’m walking down the street, sitting at the airport, at a restaurant--everywhere.

The reason I do it very purposefully is I feel as a society we are slipping into an abyss with all of our silly stupid electronics. I think people feel very lonely and disconnected. It’s a great way to push back against that and I like to spread the word about doing it because I’m telling you it makes a difference in how you feel and how other people feel.

IF YOU GO:

Paula Poundstone

Saturday, April 15, 8pm

The Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway, Fargo

Recently in:

FARGO — In some places across the state the words Planned Parenthood are spoken as curse words, but the facts say differently: abortions are down, young women are finding information and assistance, and the poor can afford to plan…

Culture

​Healing Arts Revolution

by HPR Contributor

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comGraduating from Sister Rosalind Gefre Massage and Wellness Center, Amy Wasvick has spent 10 years practicing Healing Arts. Her areas of expertise include Essential Oil, Cupping, Swedish,…

Thursday, November 14, 6-7 p.m.The Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave.N, FargoAn evening of conversation with multimedia artist Brad Kahlhamer and sculptor Aaron Spangler. Kahlhamer works with a range of media from sculpture and…

Editorial

Have a little respect

by HPR Contributor

By Waylon Hedegaardretiringwithcats@gmail.comDoes everyone find Facebook disturbing nowadays? Oh, I don’t mean the creepy way when after you search for a product, ads for that product are suddenly everywhere like bed bugs. Nor do…

President Donald J. Trump: ‘A Picasso of Pettiness, A Shakespeare of Shit’I am a fan of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, an immigrant from India. He is one of the many reasons I don’t bother going to “Christian” churches on Sunday…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

All About Food

​Out to lunch

by HPR Contributor

By Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comSchool lunch has been in the news lately. There have been stories from around the country about the mounting debt and how school’s have been dealing with it. Michaela Schell and Chris…

The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-2020 season is already underway. The first concert of the season, which showcased Gustav Holst’s well-known and loved “The Planets” premiered to a sold-out audience. The first…

Fans of Robert Eggers’ brilliant feature debut “The Witch” have been waiting impatiently for “The Lighthouse,” and while the filmmaker decidedly avoids any kind of sophomore slide, the new movie will probably not attract…

Arts

​31 drawings in 31 days

by Sabrina Hornung

Each October a number of drawing challenges appear across social media. Think 31 drawings in 31 days. The original Inktober challenge was started in 2009 by artist Jake Parker to boost his drawing and inking skills. Since then…

Theatre

​Razor Sharp Theatre

by HPR Contributor

By Scott Eckernotharrisonford@gmail.comTheatre is something that takes a lot of work from a lot of people. This is something that is easy to forget while watching a good play. Great theatre is immersive. The script, acting and…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

The famous 20th century Southern writer William Faulkner quipped, “Civilization begins with distillation.” Technically one brews beer instead of distilling it, but the sentiment still holds true. Fargo is no stranger to the…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

By William Southworthwsouthwo@cord.eduThe United Kingdom has a new boss. Considered to by some to be a British counterpart to Trump, Boris Johnson is riding a wave of political discontent with a can-do attitude and bubbly stage…